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Tag: Best Picture Oscar (61-70 of 151)

Oscar ballots mailed: Where do things stand?

social-networkImage Credit: Merrick MortonThe ballots for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards have been mailed today, beginning the all-important three-week-long period before they’re due on Jan. 14. Not much has changed in the past week since my last round of predictions (I am now putting Natalie Portman above Annette Bening for Best Actress, though I think the race is still too close to call). But I have been interested to watch as many of my Oscar-prognosticator colleagues have changed their predicted Best Picture winner from The King’s Speech to The Social Network. Several of you have wondered in the comments why I haven’t switched my No. 1 and No. 2 rankings after Network‘s virtual clean sweep of the critics awards. Believe me, I’ve wavered back and forth over the last few weeks. But I keep reminding myself that Oscar voters are not critics. If they were, then L.A. Confidential would have beaten Titanic. And Brokeback Mountain would have won over Crash. (Of course, critics and Academy members line up sometimes too, as they did last year with The Hurt Locker.) The only group to announce so far with a voting body that overlaps with the Academy is the Screen Actors Guild, and I find it interesting that Network earned only two nominations compared to four for Speech or The Fighter. I keep hearing from many Academy members who absolutely adore The King’s Speech. Can The Social Network win Best Picture on Feb. 27? Of course it can. Particularly if voters decide they want an American film to win. But until it picks up significant guild support, I’m not ready to swap my rankings.  READ FULL STORY

Why I wish we could go back to having only five Oscar nominees

10-oscar-nominationsImage Credit: How many nominees is too many? As every entertainment junkie knows, the most fun thing about the Academy Awards is talking about them. All the speculative chatter — Is it Natalie Portman’s year? Is The Social Network an Oscar movie or too much of a heady/critical darling/digital generation movie? — may be the height of trivia, but it gives us all a (tiny) stake in the outcome, and it’s also a way of trying to nail down, each year, that elusive yet revealing thing that is the Hollywood Value System. Besides, the Oscars are still the ultimate media-buzz-industrial-complex horse race. Can True Grit, after getting snubbed by the Golden Globes, snag a nomination for Best Picture? How about 127 Hours, with its rave response from reviewers, its grisly (if transcendent) final twist, and its just-okay performance at the box office? And what about The Fighter? I personally think it’s a terrific movie, but did the media oversell it as a contender?

In the past, those might have been tasty questions to chew over. This year, however, I find myself having the same Oscar conversation — or, more to the point, giving the same Oscar answer — over and over again. It goes something like this:

YOU: Do you think True Grit will get nominated for Best Picture?

ME: Yes, I do. I’m not sure it would, though, if there were only five nominees. But with ten, it probably can’t miss.

YOU: What about 127 Hours?

ME: Same situation. With only five nominees, I’m almost certain it wouldn’t be nominated. With ten, I bet it will be.

YOU: How about Toy Story 3?

ME: Definitely! And it’s great that they’re finally nominating animated films for Best Picture. Of course, if there were only five nominees, I’m not sure Toy Story 3 would make it…

Do you sense a pattern here? And, what’s more, a certain creeping rhythm of ho-hum tedium? READ FULL STORY

Academy announces 248 films eligible for 2010 Best Picture Oscar

The Academy Awards announced Monday that a total of 248 films are eligible to win the 2010 Best Picture Oscar. The number has decreased over the past two years: In 2009, 274 were eligible, while 281 made the cut in 2008. Like last year, 10 films will be nominated for Best Picture. Read Dave Karger’s predictions of who will make the cut here.

Read more:
Oscar Watch: Best Picture predictions
‘True Grit’: Will it be an Oscar player?
Will James Franco and Anne Hathaway make you more likely to watch the Oscars?

'Social Network' wins L.A., Boston, New York Online critics awards

Can any movie other than The Social Network pick up a critics’ prize this year? After winning Best Picture honors from the National Board of Review and the Washington, D.C. Film Critics Association, David Fincher’s film has added three more awards to its arsenal with today’s announcements from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Boston Society of Film Critics, and the New York Film Critics Online. Aaron Sorkin also swept the three prizes for his screenplay, as did Toy Story 3 for Best Animated Film. Black Swan‘s Natalie Portman won two Best Actress awards, while three different actors—The King’s Speech‘s Colin Firth, 127 Hours‘ James Franco, and The Social Network‘s Jesse Eisenberg—each picked up a Best Actor prize. Check out all the winners after the jump. READ FULL STORY

American Film Institute announces top 10 films

The American Film Institute has announced its list of top 10 features of the year, which reads like a tally of leading Oscar contenders: Black SwanThe FighterInceptionThe Kids Are All Right127 HoursThe Social NetworkThe TownToy Story 3True Grit, and Winter’s Bone. The AFI jury (which included my EW colleague Lisa Schwarzbaum) also gave special awards to two films that were not eligible for the top 10: The King’s Speech (ineligible because it’s British) and Waiting for “Superman” (which couldn’t be considered because it’s a documentary). The AFI top 10 didn’t include any surprises; rather, dark horse entries like Get Low, Rabbit Hole, and How to Train Your Dragon all weren’t able to break in. Last year only five of the AFI’s top 10 films (The Hurt LockerPreciousUp in the AirUp, and A Serious Man) ended up scoring Best Picture nominations (An Education and District 9 weren’t eligible, while AvatarInglourious Basterds, and The Blind Side were just plain snubbed). This year I’d say they’re going to line up 9 for 10.

'True Grit': Will it be an Oscar player?

true-gritImage Credit: Lorey SebastianEarlier this week I had the opportunity to see Joel and Ethan Coen’s eagerly awaited adaptation of True Grit, the last assumed major Oscar contender of the year. I’ll leave it to my esteemed colleague Lisa Schwarzbaum to provide a proper review in the coming days, but I’d say the Coen brothers have a second consecutive Best Picture nominee on their hands. The film is beautifully shot and—no surprise considering the cast—very well acted. It’s a hoot to see Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and a host of fascinating looking character actors act with their jowls and mutton chops amidst the Coens’ majestically shot 19th Century landscape.

So in which categories is True Grit most likely to be a major contender? I’d call it a sure thing for a Best Picture nod given that race’s 10 slots. And the Coens could certainly make it into the director and adapted screenplay hunts as well. As for the cast, Matt Damon makes the most of his one-liners but simply isn’t in the film enough to be a serious supporting actor contender. Ditto Josh Brolin, who doesn’t even appear until the last act. Jeff Bridges could end up scoring a Best Actor nomination thanks to his droll performance as marshal Rooster Cogburn, but I wouldn’t say Colin Firth needs to worry about losing to him again this year. In my mind the strongest acting candidate from the film is newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, who knocks her large supporting role out of the park, exuding precociousness and confidence from her introductory scene. She had me smiling nearly the entire film and I’d imagine most Academy members will have the same reaction. READ FULL STORY

Christopher Nolan on his 'last' Batman movie, an 'Inception' videogame, and that spinning top

chris-nolanImage Credit: Melissa MoseleyChristian Bale recently disclosed that he’s approaching his third Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, as if it will be his last time playing the caped crusader on the big screen — and the film’s director, Christopher Nolan, is taking the same view. In an interview with EW, Nolan called The Dark Knight Rises “the last chapter of our Batman saga.” When the helmer was asked if any part of him wished he was tackling another original script instead of another Batman sequel in the wake of Inception’s blockbuster grosses (over $820 million worldwide) and Oscar buzz, Nolan replied: “No, it’s exactly the opposite. I feel very glad that I’m doing another Batman film. I think it would have been daunting to sit down and write an original script after Inception. I love working within the realm and rules of our Batman world. It’s kind of nice to have someplace to go that I’m super-excited about.” He added that Inception’s success allows him to tackle another Batman without any sense of needing to prove himself: “I must say that I’m glad — I’m very, very glad — to be embarking on the last chapter of our Batman saga without any sense of obligation or duty to the studio. They did very well with Inception. So I’m able to go into finishing our story in a very enthusiastic way.”

For anyone hoping that Nolan might plunge deeper into the world he created with Inception in the form of a sequel, the filmmaker says… READ FULL STORY

OscarWatch: Best Picture predictions

Image credit: Stephen Vaughan

I recently put together my latest round of Oscar predictions and I’ll be exploring one major category at a time in the coming days on our new Inside Movies blog. Let’s start with Best Picture and look at the 15 movies I think are at the forefront of the race for the 10 available slots.

BEST BETS
Inception Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending blockbuster boasts the perfect mix of brains and spectacle.
The Kids Are All Right The summer’s coolest indie is a showcase for stars Annette Bening and Julianne Moore.
The King’s Speech One of this year’s most awarded festival darlings should have no problem appealing to voters of all generations.
The Social Network David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’s morality tale will ride its zeitgeisty wave throughout the season.
Toy Story 3 In a fantastic year for animation, Pixar’s lovable threequel stands out.

POSSIBILITIES
127 Hours Director Danny Boyle’s graphic depiction of the real-life ordeal of hiker Aron Ralston (James Franco) has earned terrific reviews and box office.
Black Swan Natalie Portman’s tour de force performance could power director Darren Aronofsky’s twisted thriller to the big dance.
The Fighter A host of strong performances (notably from supporting players Christian Bale and Melissa Leo) highlight the true-life boxing story.
The Town As several late-year releases inevitably disappoint, look for director Ben Affleck’s respected thriller to bounce back.
True Grit No one’s seen the Coen brothers’ Western yet, but with Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon on board, how can you count it out?

LONG SHOTS
Another Year British auteur Mike Leigh is often a voters’ fave, and his latest London drama is already a festival hit.
Blue Valentine Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams star in an impeccably acted domestic drama — but will the gritty production be too tough for the Academy?
Get Low A dream cast (Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, and Bill Murray) paired with top-notch production values could do the trick.
How Do You Know Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd’s comedy screams Golden Globe contender. Big success there could propel it to the Kodak Theatre as well.
How to Train Your Dragon Two animated movies out of 10 may seem like a stretch. But the spring hit remains one of the best-reviewed films of the year.

So which films am I underestimating? Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter? Other dramas like The Ghost Writer or Winter’s Bone? Or a buzzy documentary like Waiting for Superman? Let me know what you’re rooting for. And follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for Oscar news all season long.

'The King's Speech' plays for the home crowd

Image credit: Samir Hussein/Getty Images

It’s won the audience prizes at the Toronto and Hamptons film festivals and wowed the crowds at Telluride. Now the British drama The King’s Speech, which has already emerged as an Oscar frontrunner for Best Picture and Best Actor (Colin Firth), will finally play in the U.K. as it has its premiere at the London Film Festival tonight. Firth knows it’s an important hurdle for his lauded film. “There are certain aspects of the home environment which are not that comfortable,” he told me earlier this week while I was at the festival. “I think your own critical community can be a lot more…critical than people elsewhere. But I tend to feel quite comfortable at the London Film Festival.” Firth stands to score his second consecutive Best Actor Oscar nomination after earning one for last year’s Tom Ford drama A Single Man (and quite possibly his second consecutive victory at the BAFTAs). Is he anxious for Ford to see his latest project? “I’m apprehensive,” he says. “I kind of wish that he could see it without having to watch me.”

The 10 Best Picture nominees: my early guesses

Disney/Pixar

Today my very early stab at guessing the 10 Best Picture nominees has been posted as part of Movie City News’ Gurus o’ Gold feature. There seems to be some consensus among the 14 of us Oscar predictors as to seven of the eventual nominees. After that it’s pretty much a field day of shot-in-the-dark prognostication. Here is my estimated list of 10 (ranked by probability of making the cut next January) with my reasoning for including each film. We’ll see how wrong I am in just a matter of months!

1. The King’s Speech As soon as I saw this British drama in early September I knew it had the potential to go all the way in at least one major category. Right now its star, Colin Firth, is the man to beat for Best Actor, and it’s an absolute lock for a Best Picture nomination as well.

2. True Grit Four of the 14 “Gurus” have the Coen brothers’ upcoming Western ranked first or second on their ballots. And no, none of us have actually seen it. This one is pure hunch on my part. Though strong trailers don’t always turn into great movies (I’m looking at you, Invictus.)

3. The Social Network The Facebook movie boasts the second-highest tally of No. 1 votes (behind The King’s Speech). After this week’s fantastic hold at the box office, it’s even more of a sure thing.

4. Inception There’s got to be one live-action blockbuster in there, and none has a better shot than Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending smash.

5. How Do You Know? Here’s the one case where I’m apparently the most alone in my thinking, as no other participant has the film on his or her list. But I have faith in the upcoming Reese Witherspoon romantic company based on writer/director James L. Brooks’ selected track record (Broadcast News, Terms of Endearment) and the positive buzz I’ve been hearing about costar Paul Rudd’s performance. Here’s hoping it’s not another Spanglish.

6. The Kids Are All Right The summer indie might not have sold out many theaters in the middle of the country, but on the coasts (where Oscar voters mainly live, of course) it was an unfettered hit.

7. Toy Story 3 Expect a lot of Lord of the Rings comparisons in the coming weeks. That trilogy did end up picking up a Best Picture trophy, but it was live-action. Still, there’s no denying Pixar’s latest achievement (the highest-grossing animated film of all time, by the way).

8. 127 Hours Here’s where the predictions start getting a little less sure-footed. Danny Boyle’s follow-up to Slumdog Millionaire impressed critics and audiences at Telluride and Toronto. But is the film too claustrophobic to go the distance?

9. Hereafter I totally fell for Clint Eastwood’s afterlife drama when I saw it at the Toronto film festival. Many critics are not fans. But I still feel like Eastwood’s ambitious work could be up the Academy’s alley.

10. Love and Other Drugs The Jake Gyllenhaal/Anne Hathaway comedic drama reminds me a lot of Up in the Air and Jerry Maguire (both past Best Picture nominees). And it’s perhaps the sexiest movie I’ve seen in years. It won’t be for everyone, but if most critics go for its blend of titillation and tragedy, then it’s a contender for one of the five “B-list slots.”

So what am I leaving out? Black Swan (probably a better shot at Best Actress)? Blue Valentine (my personal favorite, but likely too dark)? All arguments are encouraged. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for ongoing Oscar updates.

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